Baldwin to be charged in ‘Rust’ movie set shooting

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SANTA FE, N.M.(NewsNation) — Prosecutors in New Mexico announced Thursday they will pursue criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin and others in the fatal shooting on the “Rust” movie set in 2021.

Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.

Assistant director David Halls agreed to plead guilty to a charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon, the statement said.

The statement said there will be no charges for the non-fatal shooting of director Joel Souza.

The decision from First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies came nearly 16 months after a prop gun handled by Baldwin discharged on set, killing Hutchins and injuring Souza.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

The decision was disclosed in a written statement Thursday morning, rather than during a public appearance.

Both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face a mandatory five years in jail if convicted. In New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is considered a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. Because a firearm was involved, the firearm enhancement increases that time to a mandatory 5 years.

“They are the toughest criminal cases to defend,” Former federal public defender and legal analyst Mark Reichel said on “NewsNation Live.” “If death results from your mistake, it becomes involuntary manslaughter.”

A statement on behalf of the Hutchins family expressed that it is a comfort to the family knowing that in the state of New Mexico, no one is above the law.

“We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life. Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

full statement on behalf of the hutchins family

Baldwin maintains he never pulled the trigger, though a report from the FBI refuted that assertion. Baldwin called Hutchins’ death a “tragic accident,” saying he was told the gun was safe.

A statement from Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, said the decision distorts Hutchins’ death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win,” Nikas said.

The medical examiner ruled the shooting an accident, and since then, there have been questions about the live ammo found on the set and complaints about poor working conditions.

Baldwin has pointed the blame at Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for overseeing weapons and ammunition on set. He said in a civil lawsuit that Gutierrez-Reed and other crew members acted negligently by handing him a loaded gun but announcing it was safe.

Halls is also named in that lawsuit as well as Sarah Zachry, who Baldwin alleges “failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly off set.”

In response to the decision, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers, Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion, said that “Hannah is, and always has been, very emotional” about the accident, “but she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”

“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury,” Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers said.

An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed has said the armorer did not put a live round in the gun that killed Hutchins and believes she was the victim of sabotage. Authorities said they’ve found no evidence of that.

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